DONCASTER Rovers’ star Kyle Bennett didn’t expect to be lining up against Bury in a league match just over 12 months after leaving the Shakers.
The 21-year-old played an important role in the second half of the Lancashire club’s 2010-11 Division Two-promotion-winning campaign and was offered a new contract which he subsequently rejected to join Rovers.
Although a work in progress last season, as he is still is to a lesser extent, Bennett nevertheless showed that he was good enough to play at Championship level.
Indeed, he is being talked about as a possible Premier League player.
Although ambitious to play at the highest level he can, for the time being Bennett is happy to continue to learn his trade in League One with Rovers and to try and help them get back into the second tier of English football.
He told The Star ahead of tonight’s game between the clubs at the Keepmoat Stadium that he has no regrets about joining Rovers even though they are currently playing at the same level as his former club.
“It wasn’t a bad decision to come here, even though we got relegated last season, because Doncaster are a bigger club and I was obviously keen to work with the management staff who brought me here,” he said.
“So I don’t regret making the decision to come here.”
Despite making the move away from Gigg Lane, Bennett has kept in touch with several of his former team-mates and has been texting them ahead of tonight’s game.
“I’ve just been letting them know that I’m going to score again,” he joked.
Bennett scored the third of Rovers’ goals in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Walsall and is keen to see the ball in the back of the net more times than last season.
Whilst Bennett hasn’t been a prolific scorer during his time at the club, most of his goals have been memorable - as was the case at the weekend.
But he was more interested in heaping praise on the long-range goal scored by David Cotterill than his own impressive effort.
“It is probably the club’s goal of the season already,” he enthused. “It was a great piece of individual skill.”
Bennett regularly popped up all over the pitch in pre-season games but was less prominent against the Saddlers.
“I didn’t see as much of the ball as I usually do,” he said. “I was doing a job for the team slotting in holes to try and stop them playing because they were quite good on the ball.
“As a team it was probably the best performance since I’ve been here. We waited for them to come at us and then tried to nick the ball and get it up front where we’ve got some great players.
“We’ve probably passed the ball better than we do now, though I thought both sides passed the ball well and it was a good game of football.”
Although Bury’s visit is unlikely to generate the same sort of interest among the sporting public of Doncaster as last season’s first home game when relegated West Ham United were the visitors, it is a game which Bennett is personally excited about.
“Tonight’s game is one of the games that I’ve really been looking forward to ever since we were relegated and the fixtures came out,” he said.
“Obviously it is a game that we’ll be looking to win, as will be the case in every game we play this season, and it would be nice to pick up back-to-back home wins this week.
“But we’ll not be treating them lightly because they’ve got a few good players, some of whom are friends of mine, in their side.”
Teams and ref
rovers (possible): G Woods: Quinn, Jones, McCombe, Spurr, Cotterill/Coppinger, M Woods, Syers/Keegan, Bennett, Paynter, Brown.
BURY (possible): Carson, Jones, Skarz, Sodje, Hughes, Carrington, Worrall, Schumacher, Sweeney, Bishop John-Lewis.
CHRIS SARGINSON (Staffs): Took Rovers’ 1-0 home win over Palace last term, with no bookings, and Bury’s 3-0 defeat at Hartlepool, booking Giles Coke.